Mortdecai: Film Review
Cast: Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany, Olivia Munn
Director: David Koepp
Already rated as one of the worst films of 2015 and a low note on Johnny Depp's CV, Mortdecai arrives with hardly much expectation hanging on its shoulders.
Depp is Charlie Mortdecai, a moustachioed eccentric, art dealer and rogueish cad who, along with his manservant Jock (played with bit-of-rough charm by Paul Bettany) is forced to investigate the theft of a painting by the police. With no choice but to investigate thanks to an 8 million pound debt to Queen and country, Mortdecai is sent on a global chase to find the painting before time runs out and it falls into the wrong hands.
Mixing heist caper, Terry Thomas style speech and Rowley Birkin QC gibberish, Depp's OTT performance stands at odds with everyone else around him as he preens and pirhouettes his way through the story which has elements of Gambit within. The problem is while his manchild antics are the central turn with stupidity being more his MO, everyone else around him is taking it terribly seriously with their best plummy British accents on show for all to see.
Bettany fares well as a put upon man servant in the vein of Kato amidst Mortdecai's bumbling and to be frank, the whole affair zips along with a pace that belies its weak script and hammy lead performance.
Depp's character spends a lot of the film asking if it "will be all right in the end"; and you can't help but wonder if that's a meta touch and comment on his own career which seems to be spindling and circling the plug hole after a row of bombs belying some of the great work he did early on. You can see why he was attracted to the bounder role; a chance to riff on the English aristocracy and the art world, but the end result is such a mess that the ongoing joke about a gag reflex every time his wife kisses him soon becomes an involuntary audience reaction to large parts of what transpires on screen.